The 71st Session of American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State will take place from Sunday, May 28 to Saturday, June 3, on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. If you are selected as a delegate or alternate to represent your school at ALA VGS, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
When should I arrive?
Registration is between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., Central Time, on Sunday, May 28. Please complete registration before unloading your luggage, which should be labeled with your name and address. Upon arrival, ALA VGS staff will guide you through the registration process.
How do I get there?
Each attendee is responsible for her transportation to and from Girls State. If you drive your own car, parking is available in a campus parking lot near the dorm. Parking permits will be available at registration. You are not allowed to drive your car during your stay at Girls State.
If you’re driving, set your GPS or smart phone map to: One University Park Dr., Nashville, Tennessee 37204. For more information, including a link to the campus map, visit the Lipscomb University website here.
When do we leave?
Parents and friends will be invited to a final closing assembly that will begin at 2:00 p.m. Central Time on Saturday, June 3. Parents can pick up citizens on Saturday, June 3, at 4:30 p.m. CT, in the lobby of your dorm. There will be no counselor supervision after 5:00 p.m. CT.
I need to leave the program early. Is this possible?
If, for any reason, you cannot arrive on Sunday, May 28, or remain until Saturday, June 3, you must inform your school guidance counselor, chair of your school’s ALA VGS committee, and Julia Wells, Chairwoman of ALA VGS.
Please note that you will not be allowed to leave early to take the SAT on Saturday, June 3. Please arrange to take the SAT at an earlier testing date.
Failure to notify a representative of ALA VGS of your decision not to attend could result in your repayment of your $350.00 fee to your sponsor.
How do I prepare?
Though much of the ALA VGS experience will become clearer to you once you arrive, there are a few steps you can take to be more prepared for the week:
- Get plenty of rest before coming to ALA VGS. Every day is full and requires 100% of you, both mentally and physically.
- Realize that you need not be an expert in government to excel at Girls State. Consider ALA VGS a learning experience and remember that you have been chosen by your high school based on your abilities and leadership skills.
- Current issues play an important role at ALA VGS, from determining party platforms and writing bills to debating issues. Read your local paper and stay abreast of current state issues and you will be ahead of the game, particularly when campaigning for office. Issues of particular interest at Girls State are education, health care and budget concerns on city, county and state levels.
- If you plan to run for office, bring art supplies and have your ALA VGS campaign committee help. DO NOT prepare by making campaign materials. Preparing campaign materials before you arrive at ALA VGS is strictly prohibited.
- Know your particular sponsor before arrival. Citizens are encouraged to write a thank-you note to the persons responsible for providing this wonderful experience to them.
What do I bring?
We have put together a suggested packing list that covers clothing, toiletries, and other items you’ll want to bring with you, which is available to view, download and print here.
- Medical form, completed and signed by parent or guardian (no doctor’s signature is necessary), with copy of insurance card attached
- ALA VGS rules and release, signed by citizen and parent or guardian
- Lipscomb release form, signed by parent or guardian
- A copy of your Samsung application that must be submitted online
(If you are eligible – please visit our Samsung info page for details and eligibility requirements.)
Finally, the 1998 ALA VGS Legislature passed a resolution that requires ALA VGS to provide community service donations each year. We provide these items to a local VA hospital. The veterans are in constant need of these items. Please spend no more than $10 in total for a sampling of these items:
- Ground coffee for use in traditional coffee machines (not instant)
- Sugar and sweetener in canisters or packets
- Powdered creamer
- Laundry detergent for high-efficiency (HE) washing machines
If you choose to bring these items, pack them in a separate bag. They will be collected at registration.
How much money should I bring?
Though your sponsorship fee covers the expense of your meals and accommodations, please consider the following when deciding the amount of extra money to bring:
- Food. At ALA VGS, all of your meals are covered by your sponsorship fee. However, you also may want to bring change for snack vending machines located in some dorm buildings.
- Bookstore. You will have the opportunity to purchase items from the ALA VGS Bookstore. Items may include sweatshirts, t-shirts, shorts, and other souvenirs. Prices range from $0.50 to $50.00. The bookstore accepts cash, checks, and debit/credit cards.
- Keys. Please note that all citizens are encouraged to lock dorm rooms with the provided key. If a citizen loses her key, she will be charged approximately $60.00.
What’s in it for me?
As staff and counselors, we firmly believe that this program is life-changing. Not only will you experience cooperation among 550 of your peers to build a working government and make new friends from across Tennessee, but ALA VGS also provides the following tangible benefits:
- Samsung Scholarship. This scholarship is one of a series of scholarships derived from an endowment from the Samsung Corporation, a worldwide leader in electronics. The endowment was created to express appreciation to U.S. veterans who came to the aid of Korea during its struggle against communist forces during the Korean War. The American Legion administers this scholarship program from a Samsung scholarship fund. Please visit our Samsung information page for complete details, as well as a link to the application.
- Girls Nation. ALA Volunteer Girls State selects two citizens to travel to Washington, D.C., in mid-July to serve as senators from Tennessee in the Girls Nation program. Girls Nation citizens participate in a mock federal government, electing and appointing federal officials. Over the years, ALA VGS has sent several citizens who have been elected Girls Nation president. Highlights of that week include: meeting senators, representatives, and other high-ranking federal officials; touring the Washington, D.C., monuments and the Smithsonian; and touring the White House and possibly meeting with the president of the United States.
- The ALA VGS Network. The people you meet at ALA VGS and the friends you make are all young women with tremendous potential and successful futures ahead. Citizen selection is based on academic achievement, strength of character, and school and community contributions. The counselors and staff who lead you during the week, all former ALA VGS citizens, will share their many talents and successes with you as well. After the week of ALA VGS, graduates of the program join a community of thousands across the country. This network of women in countless roles and professions serve as friends, mentors, and contacts for years to come.
What if I have additional questions?
Use our contact page to send us a message, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.